The first of Britain’s next-generation fighter jets have arrived home two months ahead of schedule in a major milestone for the Royal Air Force and Royal Navy.

The first of Britain’s new cutting-edge aircraft arrived into RAF Marham their new home in Norfolk.

Welcoming the news, Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said:

“These formidable fighters are a national statement of our intent to protect ourselves and our allies from intensifying threats across the world. With a game-changing ability to collect crucial intelligence, fight wars and tackle terrorism, these are the most advanced jets in British history.

The work that’s gone into their early arrival shows they have the people to match. Our defence industry and military have always been at the very forefront of technology, and today’s momentous arrival of these incredible jets shows we are upholding our proud tradition of innovation while keeping Britain safe from the gravest of dangers.”

14 COMMENTS

  1. Very interesting tweet today from @Conservatives. It states ‘and we’re buying 138 of them’ . Zero ambiguity for the first time. No ‘ambition to’, no ‘plan to’, but ‘are buying’. Maybe this is early MDP indications as the head of Lockhead Martin said he was very confident F-35 numbers wouldn’t be cut in the MDP. Here’s hoping.

  2. Very interesting to see in a few of the pics what appear to be all four aircraft doing rolling vertical landings (SRVL)! Now that’s a turn up for the books. Or have I been living in another planet? Whatever, great to see it done, if indeed that’s what it is!!! Don’t think I’ve seen any of the American planes doing this… Another first for the U.K.?

    • Seen the video. Thanks Maurice. Yep, RVL alright. Thought it was being experimented with stateside but didn’t realise it was everyday, normal operating procedure. Didn’t realise RAF/MAA had given the procedure a Release to Service qualification already. Cool!

    • Richard, it is likely that this will become the standard landing technique regardless of whether the crews are on land or at sea. It means that the most common method of landing is drilled hard into the pilots…. reducing the risk of mistakes and accidents and relieve stresses on the airframe. I believe the RAF used to train their harrier pilots to come to full power during all types of landing to drill into them the technique of selecting the correct power setting for a hover/vertical landing.

    • Thanks for the link NC. Yep, pretty much par for the course for a programme like this at this stage of development. Similar trajectory to all previous major aircraft defence acquisition programmes in recent years on both sides of the Atlantic. I’m not surprised or concerned by this. A400M and Voyager had very similar (although obviously not the same) glitches as this, although I’m not free to speak about them. Many of them are still in the process of sorting out even if aircraft have been in service already for some years. A400M has similar diagnostic and logistics management system to ALIS, and it’s not a walk in the park, to say the least. But gradually it’s getting there. But lots of very capable people have had to toil very hard to keep aircraft flying, many times working with paper based solutions as workarounds to the wonderful IT that doesn’t always behave as it should. I suspect F-35 is no different. Keep calm and carry on – this will be an excellent piece of kit. And not just because of the brilliant technology but also because of the wonderful people flying and maintaining them, both in and out of uniform.

  3. Richard, it is likely that this will become the standard landing technique regardless of whether the crews are on land or at sea. It means that the most common method of landing is drilled hard into the pilots…. reducing the risk of mistakes and accidents and relieve stresses on the airframe. I believe the RAF used to train their harrier pilots to come to full power during all types of landing to drill into them the technique of selecting the correct power setting for a hover/vertical landing.

    • Yes Morgan, I fully understand. Just thought it hadn’t become a SOP yet, that’s all. I’m impressed!

  4. Any ideas why ZM145 has a different paint scheme to the others ? she has all that light grey edging to the panels / doors, and the oters havent

    • Geoff – yes noticed that too and in various video’s,i have no definitive answer but can only guess its from a different production batch maybe.

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